How to Use the Mexican Army Cipher In Your Escape Room

It is important to understand each of the puzzles and props in your Escape Room to ensure you can utilize their full potential. With this in mind I have created an instructional series to help familiarize yourself with our Cipher Wheels and Encryption Machines.

For articles on how to use our other Cipher Wheels please see the links below:

For this installment we have the Mexican Army Cipher:

Step by Step Instructions to ENCODE a Message:

1. Create a “key”. To do this, align the wheels in a random manner or manner of your choice and record the 4 numbers in the letter A column. Thus a Key could be : A-07-46-53-84. This fixes the relationship of the wheels relative to one another. The wheels must stay in this position as you encode your message.
2. Lets encode the message: “Coast is clear” using the key noted above, A-07-46-53-84.
To encode the “C” find the letter C on the large wheel. You will see four numbers in the column above C. Select any one of those numbers, such as 48.
Now lets do the letter O. Go to the O column and select any number, say 21.
Now lets do the letter A. Go to the A column and select any number, say 84
Keep repeating this process as you go through the message. You will note any letter can be represented by either 3 or 4 different numbers.
3. When writing any encrypted message, it is common to group the coded characters in groups of 4 so as not to give away word lengths. Also, punctuation is not included.
So, our message “Coast is Clear” could be encoded as:
48 21 84 25 39 61 71 09 95 11 46 70

Step by Step Instructions to DECODE a message:

1. You must be given the key. Set up the wheels according to the key.
2. Look at the first number on your encoded message and find it on the wheel. Record the letter associated with this number. In the example above, we would set the key and then find 48. We would see that the letter “C” is in the same column as 48 and is thus the first letter of our message. Repeat this process for each of the numbers.
3. When all numbers have been converted into letters, it


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